Did you see the contest on page 32 of our January 16 issue?
Did you see the contest on pages 32 and 33 of our January 16 High-Brr-Nation issue? CF

As you know if you read the print edition of The Stranger, we just ran a contest in our 2019 High-Brr-Nation issue involving hidden drawings, scrambled words, and a secret message that had to be decoded to win a prize worth $165!

If for some reason you didn't pick up the last issue in print (you're missing out! there's tons of stuff in print that doesn't go online), here's what the secret message looked like before it was filled in:

The secret message was 10 words long.
The secret message was 10 words long, made up of 47 individual letters. CF

You see those drawings under each letter? Pineapples, winter hats, bongs, etc.? Those corresponded to the three pineapples, seven winter hats, four bongs, and so on, hidden throughout the print edition, each one with a different letter on it. Sometimes the drawings were hidden in editorial content, sometimes they were hidden in other pieces of art, and sometimes they were hidden in ads. You had to really look to find them.

For example, here are just nine of the 47 letters that were hiding throughout the issue:

Some of them were even harder to find than these nine.
Some were harder to find than these. Collage by Anthony Keo

The submissions have been pouring in, and we've been poring over them, setting aside all the entries that got the mystery phrase right. Not all of them did. Usually it was a close call. All the almost-there-but-not-quite mystery phrases only got one word wrong. Gah!

It's kind of a heartbreaker, imagining those people putting so many hours into hunting for ice cream cones and winter gloves and hair dryers and collecting the letters and unscrambling the words only to throw in the towel toward the end the process, take a shortcut and guess on a word, and get the puzzle wrong.

Pretty close! But there was not a p hidden in any of the bongs. Good guess, though.
Pretty close! But there was not a "p" hidden in any of the bongs. Good guess, though. CF

The highest leak? Gah! This person got all the correct letters but guessed the wrong word.
The highest "leak"? So close! This person got all the correct letters though. CF

This person wins points for boldness. Alas, there was no b hiding in a winter hat anywhere, and there werent two gs either, just one.
"Biggest"? There was no "b" hiding in a winter hat anywhere. Bold guess, though! CF

This ones right except that penultimate word is wrong. There was no t in any of the mittens, though there was an r.
So close and yet so far. Everything's right but the penultimate word. CF

Another heartbreaker! L and I are similar-looking, but this is a really fierce guess.
Another heartbreaker! But "fiercest" is a fierce guess, and "L" and "I" are similar-looking... CF

Anyway, enough about the losers. We did get 59 entries with the correct hidden message in them, which was:


As a visual clue, we put a drawing of the highest lake in the world, Lake Titicaca, in the background. Congratulations to all of the entrants who made it that far! That was some solid work you did! You are a pro at hunting and gathering letters hidden in stoner wintertime objects.

But we only have one Grav Turbine Bubbler to give away. It was donated to this contest by the pioneering boutique Trichome down in Chinatown/International District (at 618 S Jackson St). Trichome specializes in legalization lifestyle products and culture—including all kinds of CBD stuff (ointments, balms, pre-rolls, beverages), clothing, housewares, and smoking/vaporizing tools.

In order to narrow down the 59 entries to just one, we folded up all the entries into equal squares, put them in a hat I once wore when I was Abraham Lincoln for Halloween, and gathered the staff together. As staff writers Nathalie Graham and Katie Herzog took hits from the Slog bong, digital editor Chase Burns drew the winner's name out of the hat.

We took a video of the big moment! Watch!

Congratulations, Adam! We will be in touch with instructions on claiming your prize.

If you've never checked out Trichome, you should!

And if you don't pick up The Stranger in print, you should do that too! It's a different experience than reading it online, and sometimes you can win stuff.